President Trump has voiced protectionist thoughts on trade since he began campaigning for office, but his protectionists actions on trade are counterproductive in the eyes of Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS).
In regards to the North American Free Trade Agreement, Roberts says it feels as though the U.S. is “walking on eggs right now.”
His main concern is that Mexico is looking to other countries to buy corn and wheat, which could greatly impact farmers. He says when the original agreement was crafted in 1996, there were problems, but the negotiating team worked them out.
“I think we can modernize NAFTA without having to get to a situation where both Canada and Mexico find it very difficult to work with the administration,” he says. “We're working with the administration and we have a full team helping Bob Lighthizer with these efforts, and if we can achieve some accord with Mexico to Canada, that’s the best thing that we could have happen.”
On the Trans-Pacific Partnership, Roberts would like to see the U.S. rejoin the pact from both a trade and a national security standpoint. He says countries in the Asia Pacific need to know that the U.S. is a reliable supplier and good partner.
“TPP is not only an opportunity for our presence in the Pacific and more especially what we could do on behalf of agriculture trade, but it's also a national security component as well,” Roberts says. “I hope the President takes a hard look at that and perhaps how we can get back in.”